Cow’s or buffalo’s ghee? CSIO kit can tell right answer

CHANDIGARH: In an attempt to validate if the ghee you are consuming or offering for puja is from cow’s milk or not, scientists at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), a national laboratory, have developed a hand-held device to differentiate between a cow and buffalo’s ghee.

What was the need? “Cow’s ghee has its cultural significance in India. We were working on a technology to detect adulteration in oil and this happened to be a spin-off,” said Dr Amol P Bhondekar, principal scientist, CSIO, who has developed the testing kit.
India ranks first in milk production, accounting for 18.5% of world production. Although various methods based on physico-chemical parameters (testing by some chemicals) are available, these are either complex or require laboratory setups. “We have developed a simple and low cost instrument for the detection adulteration in ghee, which analyses the chemical fingerprint of the ghee samples in just two minutes. The device indicates the deviation of the adulterated samples from pure ones. It is also capable of differentiating between cow and buffalo milk,” said Bhondekar.

The technology is basically capable of finding out how often oil has been reused while frying. It is an established fact that recycling oil can be carcinogenic. “The technology can be used to detect adulteration in oil and ghee. But it cannot find out the adulterant. For this, we have specific tests in the laboratory,” said Bhondekar. However, the objective was to allow tests possible in the field without taking the samples to a laboratory.

The adulteration of ghee can start at the stage of milk itself. Water emulsion of coconut, groundnut and other cheap oils are added to milk or cream. Scientists say that adulteration of ghee is a common malpractice in India because it fetches more profit to the traders and also results into increased supply. “The cost of cow’s ghee is around Rs 800 per kg, while buffalo’s ghee is half the price. One can fleece buyers by adding adulterants so that buffalo’s ghee resembles cow’s,” said Bhondekar.

Source : Indiatimes

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